Facebook announced their change of name to Meta, and we all went searching. Well, at least I did. What is Meta all about? What is a Metaverse? Does Facebook own it? Very sneaky indeed, but not at all unexpected, to see Zuckerberg try to make his company synonymous with metaverse technology.
Other people associate it with the story of the Matrix movies. This may sound scary, but it is not completely implausible. Here is an explainer on what the metaverse and Meta.
The Internet You Can Touch
There isn’t any other way to phrase it.
I could describe the metaverse as an evolution of the internet we know, into one 3D network. It is the ability to access all virtual spaces and platforms through both software and hardware from your bedroom.
Users can interact with other users, shop, test out cars, attend concerts, meet with designers, etc., which would feel just like they are in the real world. This is a true virtual world in which the “real” and the “digital” coexist.
They make all the activities in the metaverse possible with the help of immersive technologies. These are headsets and haptic feedback gear such as in Virtual Reality or Augmented reality. If this sounds like the matrix and something straight out of science fiction, relax, check this out first.
It’s Been Done for A While
Let’s start small. If you have played the most common of games like Grand Theft Auto (GTA) or Minecraft, you know you have an avatar in the game. This avatar represents you during play, where you associate every activity they do with the ‘actual’ YOU. YOU go to missions, complete tasks, collect weapons for use, etc.
Other high-level games like World of WarCraft feature collaborative multiplayer platforms. Participants pick an avatar and engage in a community of players who communicate, strategize and play together. In the metaverse, you would use headsets, 3D glasses, and touch sensors in a highly simulated and 3D environment.
So, instead of a flat playing environment, you get into a virtual reality and an interactive one.
Meta by Mark
The metaverse is a journey we have been on, not one we are starting. Many brands have hosted virtual experiences in an online space with many attendees. In the game world of the popular game Fortnite, stars like Marshmello have headlined in virtual concerts.
In late 2021, players in Fortnite could even purchase outfits from a virtual Balenciaga store, try outfits and hang out with each other. Gucci also held a two-week art installation, a recreation of their real-world installation in Italy.
Facebook (Meta) is using metaverse technology to create an immersive virtual environment for social media. The idea is to have socializing, learning, meetings, and work in a digital space, one full of texture, color, and sound. Imagine a Live Instagram recording by your favorite podcast, but you sitting with them in their studio.
Privacy and Regulation
Here is a question. The blue pill or the red pill?
There is no overestimating how many advantages corporates or other institutions with myriad agendas can manipulate and use such technology. I mean, look at Facebook. One minute it was poking strangers, the next minute it was illegally influencing world elections.
A social, gaming and business metaverse would be invasive. Therefore, this high level of freedom could also trigger a high level of moderation by authorities. However, regulation on that level might stifle the growth or/and actualization of useful technology.